Researching retired ex-servicemen: Reflections on ethnographic encounters

Williams, Rachel, Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and Hockey, John (2021) Researching retired ex-servicemen: Reflections on ethnographic encounters. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 13 (3). pp. 375-389. ISSN 2159-676X

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The opportunities and challenges that younger, female, civilian researchers can encounter when undertaking ethnographic research with predominantly male military veterans are relatively underexplored sociologically. This is despite a growing literature on reflexivity in military studies over the past decade. To address this gap, we draw on symbolic interactionist insights to examine the reflective account of a British, female researcher in her mid-20s, who conducted qualitative research with 20 ‘older’ (aged 60+) retired servicemen from the Royal British Legion, a United Kingdom charity providing support for military veterans and their families. The study explored ex-servicemen’s embodied experiences of physical activity. The findings presented here cohere around four salient themes identified in the ethnographic reflections: (1) researcher positionality as a young, female, civilian researcher in a traditionally masculine militarised world; (2) managing distressing topics and interactional discomfort; (3) maintaining an ‘ethic of care’; and (4) dilemmas regarding representational issues and ex-servicemen’s embodied experiences.

Keywords:Sociology, Ethnography, Researchers, Gender, Embodiment, Retired servicemen, Ethic of care
Subjects:L Social studies > L610 Social and Cultural Anthropology
C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:39378
Deposited On:08 Jan 2020 09:46

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